My information was exposed through a Data Breach — what should I do?

It can be unnerving if your information ends up in a data breach, but there are some tried and true best practices out there to help you better protect this theft from becoming fraud.

So, although this occurrence can be unnerving, there are some tried and true best practices out there to help you better protect this theft from becoming fraud.

First, you need to establish what personal information of yours the breached company might have in their records — for example do you have an account login? Does the company that was breached have your Social Security number or medical login?

Since the identity thief likely has not only your email address but possibly other credentials, we recommend adding a credit lock, freeze or fraud alerts to your credit reports, staying on the lookout for new alerts, and regularly checking your credit reports and financial accounts for any unrecognized transactions. Additionally,

  • If your Social Security Number (SSN) was exposed in the breach, we recommend you start by filing an FTC report on identity theft at .

  • If your exposed information includes credit/debit card or account information, you should consider canceling your credit or debit card and adding additional security such as 2-factor authentication.

  • If you set up an account with a login with the company that was breached, we recommend that you reset your password for this account using a password manager and where possible add additional account security — for example 2-factor authentication. You should also reset your password for any other account where you have used the same or similar password.

With your personal information compromised, you are at greater risk of having your accounts hijacked, credit profile impacted, identities stolen - and more. An identity thief with a stolen identification number may look for a quick payout through getting access to your credit, financial accounts, or fraudulently filing for government benefits such as unemployment.

Taking the above steps should help you minimize the chance of immediate financial loss and fraud. But completing these steps doesn’t mean you are fully out of the woods. At least some of your information is out there and could be used for nefarious deeds in the future.

An identity theft protection service can help

While it is always good practice to be diligent in checking your financial accounts and requesting your credit report to find any abnormalities, it can also be a lot of manual work. Enrolling in an identity protection service that includes credit and financial accounts monitoring, lock and block features, and digital security and privacy tools can help you lighten your burden and alert you of potentially suspicious activity like,

  • Your data is found in websites, chat rooms, and other forums known for trafficking stolen personal and financial information.

  • Your bank account balance drops below your set threshold.

  • Someone tries to take over an existing account or open a new account in your name.

  • Someone tries to obtain credit in your name.

  • Someone tries to secure a payday, high-cost installment, or other loan outside of the traditional banking system in your name.

  •  A lender you didn’t engage with conducts a credit inquiry.

Receiving timely alerts can help you immediately start to investigate and act to help mitigate these activities. 

Because identity theft and fraud are not usually something you want to go through and resolve alone, the support from an identity protection service should have live customer service agents available to you 24/7/365. And, if you or someone in your family does become a victim of identity fraud, it can help you with certified resolution specialists ready to help you manage your case until your identity is restored.

No one is immune to identity theft and if it becomes fraud, the effect can be wide-reaching regardless of income, education, or generation. Whether your data has recently been exposed in a breach, accessed through a scam, or has been compromised without your knowledge, an identity protection service can help you stem the tide against the growing threats of identity fraud and help lighten the burden of monitoring and safeguarding your accounts, credit, and digital identity on your own.

Identity theft protection may be offered as a benefit by your employer. For more information on its availability, review the benefits offered by your employer or visit here to purchase directly. 

The information provided is intended as general guidance and is not intended to convey any tax, benefits, or legal advice. For information pertaining to your company and its specific facts and needs, please consult your own tax advisor or legal counsel.  Equifax Workforce Solutions provides services that can help employers reduce their compliance risks. Details on our provision of these services and related support will be contained in your services agreement. Links to sources may be to third party sites. We have no control over and assume no responsibility for the content, privacy policies or practices of any third party sites or services.